Black and White Digital Photography Tips

Black and White Digital Photography Tips
People enjoy making black and white digital photos because of their aesthetics and old-fashioned feel. There are two ways to make black and white photos - either shoot your imagery in black and white with your digital camera or use picture-editing software to convert a digital color photo into a black and white photo.

Here are digital photography tips for shooting black and white directly with a digital camera, if it comes with appropriate filters. You may find the setting labeled as "monochrome mode."

  • Your camera may offer different file formats to store your images. Many file formats process the image and alter colors, saturation, sharpness, etc. If you have 'raw' format available use it - unlike JPEG format, raw does not process the image. So you get the original image as is. You can control whatever post-processing you desire.
  • You can control the light sensitivity in a digital camera. The light sensitivity setting are given in ISO numbers such as ISO 100, ISO 200, etc. A high ISO number implies greater sensitivity to light. This is a good setting to capture digital photos in dim light. But high light sensitivity also results in more noise in the image. You must choose the ISO setting optimally for the imagery you want to photograph - neither too high nor too low.
  • You must set the shutter speed of your camera optimally. You need a high shutter speed to shoot moving objects like cars or trains.
  • The aperture settings on your digital camera determine the depth of focus you need. You can have one object in very sharp focus and allow everything in the backdrop to fade by controlling this.
  • While optical zoom will work well with good lenses, avoid using digital zoom as it cause loss of details and poor resolution in the captured photo.
  • Set your digital camera to shoot in maximum resolution to get subtleties and details if you have enough memory available.
  • If you are just getting started on using your digital camera, stick to the auto mode where the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings depending on the scenery.
  • If you need to use a flash to improve lighting, position yourself so that you do not get light from it reflecting back into the camera due to shiny surfaces in the scenery.

If you do not have a sophisticated camera which can be fine tuned for black and white photography, simply take color photos and convert them to black and white using software like Adobe Photoshop. The software will simply strip out the color information (expressed in red, blue and green components) and leave only luminosity information in the image. You may find the following photography tips useful to get you started.

  1. Capture the color image in raw format.
  2. You can use the Image >> Adjustments >> Black and White setting to convert to convert your color photo to black and white.
  3. You can alter the contrast, sharpness and brightness of the picture by playing with the Image >> Adjustments menu which allows you to alter the red, green and color components of the underlying image.

Practice makes perfect. So try different settings on the digital camera and learn what works best.
Black and White Digital Photography Tips | Victoria Knight | 5